WASHINGTON - Family and friends gathered in the District to remember a promising student athlete shot and killed last week.
On Monday afternoon, a “Celebration of Life” took place at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast D.C. to remember Zaire Kelly as the 16-year-old boy’s teachers and classmates spoke about standout student and athlete.
Last Wednesday night, Kelly was walking home from a convenience store near his home when police say 19-year-old Sequan Gillis tried robbing Kelly. The 16-year-old stabbed Gillis with a pocket knife in self-defense, but Gillis would then shoot Kelly. Both died from their injuries.
Several hundred people gathered inside the school’s gym on Monday to share their memories of Kelly. He had just started his senior year and teachers said he was a model student and athlete who planned on attending college at Florida A&M University. He ran track and played basketball.
“Dream big as you prepare for the next level. I know Zaire would want you to,” said teacher Christina Camps at the vigil. “I know Zaire would want each of you to work hard as you go to the next level with your education. Zaire Kelly will be missed, but your name and good spirit will forever be remembered. Love, your favorite math teacher and mentor.”
“He finally dunked and it was with two hands, and I could barely dunk it with two hands ... but that was his last dunk,” said teammate Darius Richardson.
A second vigil was held for Kelly on Monday evening on 13th Street near where the robbery attempt took place.